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Crop Corner – New Year’s Resolutions

June 02, 2015

The 2014 cropping season was a ‘unique’ one.  Rainy and cool conditions delayed planting significantly and were followed by more rain and colder temperatures.  As August approached, many worried that the corn and soybean crops would not reach maturity. Thankfully we had a beautiful warm September that aided the crops in achieving maturity.  When harvest finally came, growers found that they had a lot of yield variability between fields.  Yield variability could be due to many different factors: fertility, variety, rainfall, drought, drainage or even weed control.

The first step to reaching higher yields and creating year-year yield stability is soil fertility.  Because of the cool, wet conditions this season, plants were slow growing and stressed making nutrient uptake difficult in low fertility fields.  Growers who consistently apply fertilizer, manure or both reported good and excellent yields in most of their fields this season regardless of the poor early season conditions.

Did you have a poor yielding field this season? If yes, then your New Year’s Resolution should be to do some soil testing.  Consider it a challenge!  Take your poorest field and get it tested – you may be surprised by the results.  With the variety of new products (chemical, seed or fertilizer) available to boost yield, none will work without a solid basic fertility plan.  Soil testing is a cheap and easy way to get a snapshot of your field’s yield potential for next season.

If you have a soil testing plan already in place, your New Year’s Resolution may be to try something new.  Try including a residual pre-emerge herbicide in your soybeans, or maybe consider trying a fungicide on your best field of corn or soybeans in July. Residual herbicides help fight glyphosate resistance. Growers this past season reported excellent return on investment with fungicides because of the heavy white mold and other fungal diseases that flourished in the cool damp conditions.  Agriculture is an industry of constant evolution – what are you doing to help evolution on your own farm?

Sit down with your Agronomist in 2015 and put together a solid crop plan that hopefully includes one of the New Year’s Resolutions I mentioned above.  Happy Holidays and best of luck in 2015!

This Crop Corner has been written by Melody Robinson, Sales Agronomist at Clark Agri Service.  Melody can be reached by email mrobinson@clarkagriservice.com or by phone 289-775-1188